Will Amazon buy Liquavista, and would that lead to color Kindles?

Amazon currently offers two types of Kindle devices. You can pick up an inexpensive Kindle with a black and white E Ink display designed primarily for reading eBooks. Or you can buy a Kindle Fire tablet which can also run apps, play movies, and do much more.

Maybe one day there will be another option: a Kindle eReader with a color display for viewing photos, comic books, magazines, and other content.

Liquavista

Bloomberg reports that Samsung is looking to sell Liquavista to Amazon. Liquavista is  a subsidiary it acquired a few years ago. It makes low power color displays that are viewable outdoors thanks to electrowetting technology.

A few months ago Nate at The Digital Reader spotted some evidence suggesting Amazon and Samsung were in talks. Now Bloomberg is citing “a person familiar with the matter” who says Samsung wants to sell Liquavista for under $100 million.

Samsung hasn’t delivered any products featuring Liquavista technology since acquiring the company more than two years ago. In fact, the top story at the Liquavista website is still “Liquavista gets acquired by Samsung.”

Meanwhile the market for eReaders seems to be declining (eBook sales are still high, but many people are reading them on tablets, phones or other devices).

So selling Liquavista to one of the biggest existing players in the eReader space would make sense for Samsung.

What remains to be seen is whether it makes sense for Amazon. The company has been pushing its Kindle Fire tablets to customers looking for a color eReader which can also handle music, video, and other tasks.

A color Kindle with a Liquavista display, on the other hand, would primarily be good for reading. But it might be very good for reading, since the low power display would allow for much longer battery life than you get from a Kindle Fire tablet.

Update: Yup, looks like Amazon is the proud new owner of Liquavista.

via The Digital Reader

  • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

    I believe color document readers make sense in A4 size.

    Novels can be read on 6″ ereaders comfortably (and with high mobility) but reading color newspaper and A4 PDFs is still very uncomfortable at this screen size. Even 10″ tablets are a bit small and their battery life is not very good when you read graphics intensive PDFs.

    • toronado455

      Been waiting for so long for a larger format eReader device that I’m almost to the point of giving up on it. I think that at some point, such a device could replace traditional paper textbooks.

      • jhenkinson

        [ … such a device could replace traditional paper textbooks.]

        that’s an apt point. But unfortunately, I think that is PRECISELY the reason why we are unlikely to ever see one on the market (for the near future, at least).

        what I mean is that publishers are VERY touchy where ebooks are concerned, and they are prepared to go to extraordinary length to prevent something what would help ebooks replace traditional printed books. Issues about copyright, distribution and pricing have always been hot topics in the industry.

        Especially about pricing, it’s ridiculous they are charging the same price (and there are cases where they actually charge more) for an ebook as with printed book, even when no printing costs, shipping and handling and warehouse costs are involved.

        And even after paying for an ebook, it’s not entirely yours, Amazon has been known to have remotely wipe user contents before, and many electronic magazines distributors do the same trick, which is unacceptable seeing that you have paid for that content. They can’t just barge in your house and take away a book you have purchased, can they? But that’s precisely what they would do with your ebooks. Ridiculous.

  • nwhenry

    So far Color E-Ink devices have been all hype and no hardware. If a device could be made with decent battery life and could be viewed in daylight then the company wouldn’t be up for sale,.. again.

  • Radu

    I would really love to see a general purpose tablet using some daylight visible display. It doesn’t have to be as fast as an LCD screen, even 15 fps would be good enough for my needs.